Hundreds Relocate For Chemical Plant Expansion
LAKE CHARLES, La. (AP) — More than 200 Mossville and Brentwood residents with property close to the Sasol chemical company's Westlake facility have agreed to sell their property to the company as part of a voluntary relocation plan.
Sasol announced the Voluntary Property Purchase program last year, months after announcing plans for a new ethane cracker and gas-to-liquids complex at the Westlake site.
Sasol has extended 299 purchase offers — 210 of which have been accepted, Sasol spokesman Mike Hayes told The American Press (http://bit.ly/1eIiUFY). Hayes said 84 offers are pending and two property owners, who own five properties in the area, rejected Sasol's offer.
Sasol's purchase area includes 926 parcels spread across more than 600 acres. At least 64 homeowners are expected to remain as construction begins on the new project.
"We're working through the process," Hayes said. "We have to get the appraisals done, and when they are done we have to make an offer. Then the owners have a period of time to decide. Most people are using that period of time to look and see what's available and see what they can afford. But we're getting a lot of acceptances, and we're doing a lot of closings."
The home buyout program began in August. From the program's inception, officials with the South Africa-based company said residents would get better than fair market value for their homes. Hayes told the American Press in January that all residents who have accepted Sasol's offer are getting at least 160 percent of their home's appraised value.
Hayes said Sasol hired the Lafayette-based engineering firm Fenstermaker to assist in finding ways to get clean water to the 64 residences where people are remaining. He said Sasol officials are also working with parish officials, area water and sewer districts, and the state Department of Health and Hospitals to get answers on how water and sewer will be managed during construction.
The program's sign-up period ended Dec. 4. Residents who signed up before Nov. 4 are eligible for a $1,000 early sign-up bonus, which they'll receive at closing.
Hayes said a number of property owners who did not sign up for the program have requested that Sasol reopen it.
"We have not made a decision on that yet," he said. "I can't say if we will or won't. We were pretty adamant in December that people should've made up their mind by the deadline. But there may be some special circumstances that we will consider."